In the course of my usual blog arguments this morning, a paragraph caught my eye. From an Investor's Business Daily editorial about Jimmy Carter, and his less-than-vicious statements about Hamas.
When one party has started a civil war, democracy isn't exactly the issue anymore. ...Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice repeatedly points out that those who are elected democratically have an obligation to govern democratically or they aren't democrats. Hamas has blown its right to democracy.
Now understand I'm not crazy about Jimmy Carter, and Hamas is a bunch of war-mongering lunatics masquerading as a political party. But what the hell is this anonymous editorialist getting at here? I'll paraphrase: We, the United States, are the judges of whether your elections should count. The editorial doesn't dispute that the Palestinian vote was orderly and fair (well he does put "scare quotes" around that term, and later the word "won", but that's not the same as disputing) he merely disputes the RIGHT of them to govern since he doesn't like how they're doing it.
Democracy is a messy business, and if you are going to encourage the people to choose their leaders, you better be prepared for them to do it. We have been trying to cram Democracy down the sandy throats of the Middle East for a long time now; if we tell them "you need to pick a leader we LIKE" then we're selling defective product. And they don't exactly love doing business with us now, effendi.
The editorial also says "No one in the West is obligated to support an international terrorist organization just because it "won" an election. The proper response is to cut it off until it renounces violence." I agree with that. If they want our help, we can demand that they act a certain way. It's hypocritical to demand non-violence out of Hamas, but not unreasonable. If they have something we want, we can change our behaviors too. Fair exchange.